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THE WILDERNESS BLOG

13 Mar

THE FIRST LIONS CUBS ON LAPALALA!

The Circle of Life is fully in motion at Lapalala!

Two little lion cubs have been born — making up the first generation of native lions on the reserve. And we couldn’t be more happy to see them bouncing around in front of our game drives, and thriving in the lush plain in the north.

Lapalala wilderness re-introduced lions into the reserve in 2019 — two females and two males — and we have been anticipating the arrival of the first generation of native-born cubs to grace the lands, and hopefully grow the population to its historic numbers. At the start of the year, we had suspected one of the females was denning cubs, but we couldn’t be sure.

Then, after a few months of not seeing her at all, she finally revealed her prize: two little beauties emerging from a rocky thicket. Since then, the cubs have popped up often on game drives in the north of the reserve; and just this week we spent two hours watching them enjoy a fresh eland kill made by their mum.

The big northern male is the proud father of these newbies, and he has been hanging around and enjoying the spoils of the elend kill — while tolerating his offsrping’s antics. It was wonderful to watch the cubs rolling and playing around the male, and jumping up to annoy him every now and then. The cubs also have plenty to eat at the moment, as the reserve is currently bursting with life after the summer rains, and the antelope have been dropping their offspring in numbers over the last few months.

 

With the big male protecting the cubs (and constantly roaring in the morning to make his territory known), and two females carefully mothering them, we now have our first fully formed pride on Lapalala, and it is an absolute joy to see them on game drives. Knowing how long this land has been without lions, it’s especially symbolic that these cubs are beginning a new circle of life that will see the population grow and stabilize to its natural, historical balance.

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